Frequency of drug poisoning in adults at tertiary care hospital, Wah Cantt


  • Nousheen Bhatti
  • Dilshad Ahmed Khan
  • Shahid Saleem
  • Aamir Ijaz
  • Muhammad Aamir


Objective: Acute poisoning especially with drugs is an important cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide and the incidence is increasing day by day. This study was aimed to assess the pattern of acute poisoning cases in a tertiary care hospital at Wah Cantt in order to take up appropriate planning, prevention and management.

Materials and Methods: One hundred and twenty six adults of 18-50 years, of either sex with history of poisoning were included in the study. Serum and Urine samples of all patients were screened for the presence of drugs on Toxicology lab A & B drug detection system. Serum cholinesterase levels were used as a surrogate for Pesticides. Confirmation of the type of drug and chemicals was carried out using Gas chromatography-Mass spectrometry (GC-MS).

Results: Out of 126 patients of acute poisoning majority were of drug poisoning n=73 (58%), followed by organophosphate poisoning n=23 (18%), wheat pill poisoning n=13 (10%), corrosive ingestion n=7 (6%), kerosine oil poisoning n=3 (2%), rodenticide poisoning n=3 (2%), poisoning with unknown compound n=2 (2%), spirit/alcohol poisoning n=1 (1%) and carbon monoxide poisoning n=1(1%). Among the drug poisoning group, 36 (49%) cases were of benzodiazepine poisoning, 12(17%) of tricyclic antidepressants poisoning, 6(8%) of analgesic abuse and barbiturate poisoning each, 5(7%) of cannabinoids poisoning, 4(6%) of multiple drug poisoning and 1(2%) case of poisoning with oral hypoglycemic drugs. Anticoagulants (n=1), opiates (n=1) and anticholinergic drugs (n=1) constituted 1% each. Incidence was more common among females n=65 (52%) compared to males n=61 (48%). Most cases of acute poisoning presented among 16-20 years age group n=43(34%) followed by 21-25 years age group n=33 (26%). Mean age of the patients was 25.9 ± 9.75 years.

Conclusion: Acute drug poisoning accounted for the majority (58%) of all cases of poisoning, and benzodiazepines were most frequently used. Poisoning was more common in young females.

Key words: Drug poisoning; adults; tertiary care hospital.